Expressing yourself through your body can be fun, but some of that fun is permanent. It is important to think about your motivation, options, choices, and the consequences of body art. Talk to people, seek out information. Never make decisions quickly!
It is exciting to exert control over what people see when they look at you, but you cannot always control how people will respond. Some people will have negative responses, and you have to decide if the risks are worth the fun.
Try to imagine yourself 10 or 20 years from now. What will you be doing at that time? You might be a free-spirited student now, and a web of vines on your wrist might look lovely.
However, what might you do for a living 20 years from now? Could you work in a conservative field in which you are required to cover up your tattoo with long sleeves every day?
The palette of possibilities for how we express ourselves with our bodies is huge: clothes, make-up, piercing, tattooing, and – most extreme – surgery. Some of these changes are temporary, others are permanent.
There are health risks associated with some things, too. Obviously, these will be considerations when you think about body art (Drill, McDonald and Odes, 1999).
The following articles contain information about different forms of body art, including tattooing, piercing, and body modification (cosmetic surgery).